A subject of much debate at a number of weddings we have organised and attended. Do you invite the children or do you not? If so, do you only invite them to part of the event? Do you need to organise entertainment for them? Should you provide baby sitters? Will you need to provide sleeping arrangements? The list of questions to debate is endless. Here is a little bit of guidance from our experiences.

At the end of the day, it is your wedding and therefore you should choose as to whether or not have children at your wedding. There is no right or wrong and the most important thing as that you are your guests are happy and have a great day.

However, a few things worth considering are:

– Do many of your friends and families have children? If so, it may be unavoidable to invite the children to the wedding especially if you want to avoid any family drama.

– Are you hosting your wedding close to where most people with children live? If so, it actually may be easier for the parents to arrange for childcare. In our experience a number of parents have left their children at home with their usual babysitter to enjoy a night out without the worry of when the children will be tired or having to bring along all the children’s toys and food etc. to the wedding. If you are hosting a destination wedding it may be harder to not invite children especially as the parents may not feel comfortable leaving their children with a babysitter they do not know well.

If you do choose to have children at the wedding. Here are few additional things to consider:

– Age of the children – if they are over 12 they will most likely be able to entertain themselves and will not need any babysitters or entertainers. However, if you have a few babies, it may be worth having a babysitter or two so that your friends and family can enjoy the full night celebrating with you.

– Number of babysitters/entertainers – usually you should count 1 babysitter for each 2/3 babies (i.e. Under 2 years old) and 1 babysitters for each 5 children over 2 years old. If you do have babysitters then leave it to the parents to choose how they wish to handle it. We have had parents who have left the children with the babysitters from the moment they arrived and others who have just left the children with them whilst they ate dinner. The idea is to allow the option so that parents can have the night they want.

– Games and activities – if you do hire a babysitter/entertainer most of them will come with their own games however you can get some great games online. For an outdoor wedding, you arrange sports and games outside or for younger children you could get a draw on picnic blanket (great if you are also having a brunch the next day).

– Party packs – you could also have little party bags for the children which they will get when they sit down for dinner (this will keep them entertained during the speeches). You can also order colour in personalised wedding books.

– Sleeping area – if you can, organise a separate area for babies and young children to sleep … parents will be ever so thankful to be able to stay up with you and have their children safely sleeping on a few pillows on a couch or floor (children seem to have a wonderful ability to sleep anywhere).

Overall, most of our couples do choose to have children at their weddings and although some were a little worried about children crying or misbehaving during the ceremony or dinner, we have never met a parent that did not have the situation under control and actually having children at the wedding made it more magical. Brides be ready to be called a princess by every little girl and children absolutely love to dance with everyone.

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